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Tag: Jane Jackson

Blowing the Dust Off: Jane Jackson’s Eye of the Wind

It’s Day 6 of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series of blogs. Today the lovely Jane Jackson is reminding us about her excellent novel, Eye of the Wind.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jenny.  Your brief was that guests should choose one of their books published at least two years ago.  I have chosen ‘Eye of the Wind.’ I’m passionate about the characters, story and background in every book I’ve written, but this one is a special favourite.  Why?  Because Melissa and Gabriel have no choice but to keep secrets, from their families and each other.  As the attraction between them grows, this creates enormous tension which is tough for them, but makes a gripping story.

As a professional writer for over four decades with thirty-two books published, I’ve learned a lot about my craft. A strong plot is important. But for me character comes first.  The characters drive the story and if they don’t grab and hold your interest, you’re not likely to read on. There are so many new books published every week all begging for your attention.

One thing I learned to do (and passed on to my students when I was teaching the craft of novel writing) was give main character/s something to hide, something to protect, and something to overcome.  This gave them greater depth, made them more real, while adding tension and conflict to the story.  Something else I learned as a people-watcher –not nosiness but vital research – is that the reason someone gives for choosing a particular course of action might seem reasonable and logical. But that’s never the full story. Look deeper and you’ll see that there’s more behind it, a pay-off that gives them something they want and feel they don’t have.

e.g.  Jo buys a lottery ticket every week and tells her family all the things she would do for them if she won. Taken at face value Jo’s reason for doing the lottery is so she can be generous. But her underlying motive is to control her family by making them grateful to her.  And this is because she feels unappreciated, taken for granted.  I’m not suggesting that every time you meet someone you should second-guess their actions and behaviour, but occasionally looking a bit deeper can give you some terrific ideas for aspects of character.

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas from, what inspires them.  Mine come from where I live – a creek-side village close to the third largest natural harbour in the world.  Cornwall is an island within an island and has a long and varied history. When copper mining was at its height, tiny Gwennap parish was the wealthiest area in the world.  The Packet Service based in Falmouth carried mail all over the globe and brought back bullion from British-owned sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations.  News of victory against the French at Trafalgar, and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson, was carried ashore at Fish Strand Quay in Falmouth by Lt Lapenotiere, who hired a post chaise to take him to London.  The first trials of nitro-glycerine, invented by Alfred Nobel, took place at Falmouth docks.  William Bickford, a leather currier living in Truro, invented the first safety fuse for use in Cornish mines and quarries.  These backgrounds, and more, have featured in my books.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from ‘Eye of the Wind.’

Her gaze was clear and candid, and a tiny frown puckered her forehead. ‘You sound different.’

He smiled briefly. ‘Not used to talking.’

‘No, I don’t mean your voice: I mean your mode of speech.’

He bent his head, clenching his teeth as tension cramped his gut. In France, speaking only Breton, his disguise a matter of life and death, it had been easy to remain in character. But here in his home county and with her… Looking up he shrugged. ‘You’re right, miss. I used to work closely with the master and I wanted to better myself. Picked up his way of talking. No offence intended.’

‘No, no, I didn’t mean – it was not a criticism, Gabriel, merely an observation. But one I should not have made.’  Embarrassment had smothered her suspicion.

Torn between relief at avoiding potential danger and anger at his carelessness, he deliberately steered the conversation away from the past.  ‘May I wish you well for tomorrow?’

She drew a deep breath then blurted, ‘I’ll be glad when it’s over.’

‘No need to be nervous. You know what you’re doing.’

‘I hope so.’ It was heartfelt, anxious. After a moment she admitted, ‘My uncles don’t share your confidence.’

‘You know why, don’t you?’  He saw concern cloud her face. ‘You are attempting something men believe can – should – only be done by another man.’ One corner of his mouth lifted in brief irony. ‘This is a severe threat to their dignity.’

She was silent then tossed her head. ‘If their dignity is so fragile it must rest on very shaky foundations.’

‘It does,’ he confided. ‘And that is a secret all men would prefer to remain hidden.’

‘Her eyes widened. ‘Really?  No, you are not serious.’

‘Indeed I am.’

Seeing his rueful smile, she gasped and blushed, covering her mouth with her fingertips. ‘You should not say such things.’

‘Perhaps. But there will be occasions when you find that knowledge helpful.’

Watching her visible struggle as she recollected herself and withdrew from his unexpected and startling candour he realized that, despite being out in society, she had not acquired the usual veneer of arch sophistication he would have expected in a young woman of her background. And found himself fiercely glad.

She cleared her throat. ‘About – about the wood…’

It was a deliberate if reluctant retreat from an intimacy he should have resisted. Gabriel knew he must let her go. He turned away and set the basket on the ground.  ‘Why don’t you take a day or two to think about it, miss?’

‘But what you said – about the other trees being more valuable. Would they really raise a lot of money quickly?’

Watching her blush deepen and her lashes flutter down as she realized how much her question revealed, Gabriel wondered just how desperate a financial crisis her father had left her to deal with.  Picking up the last stone he began tying it onto a corner of the canvas, careful not to look at her.

‘They would, miss. And with proper management these woods will still be generating income a hundred years from now.’

‘Truly?’ She sounded stunned. ‘Thank you, Gabriel. Thank you very much.’

His hands grew still as he watched her walk quickly away up the path, her long stride peculiarly graceful, self-consciousness forgotten now she had so many more important matters to occupy her.

That evening after washing himself and his filthy shirt, he shaved carefully. With no mirror he had to work by touch alone. It took a long time, and he did not dare go too close to the wound on his throat. But the honey had done its work and healing had begun. Smearing a fresh cloth with the sweet-smelling salve he bound up his throat once more. Passing a hand over his almost-smooth jaw when he had finished, he smiled. No doubt Berryman would shudder at his efforts. But not only did he feel cleaner than he had for months, he also felt ridiculously proud.

When the men assembled at midday, the overnight rain was just a memory. The sun shone from a sky the colour of cornflowers dotted with thistledown clouds. Word that Francis Tregonning was dead and his wife ill had spread like flames in a gale. All were anxious about the yard and their jobs.

Melissa rode into the yard on Samson. Wearing her black habit and a small beaver hat with narrow rolled brim over her upswept hair, she was very pale but appeared calm as she dismounted. Standing near the back, his arms folded, Gabriel watched her fasten the rein to an iron ring, her fingers trembling. Remaining here was sheer madness. If he cared now in just this short time…Was he not in enough peril?

‘Eye of the Wind’   by Jane Jackson. Accent Press 2013. £1.99.

Kindle link:

Paperback available from third party sellers.

Reviews:  ‘A first-class historical novel … coupled with a gripping story-line.’    Western Morning News.

‘Satisfying on many levels, well-written and pleasurable to read.’   Historical Novels Review.

Author bio:  Jane Jackson’s first book was published in 1976. She wrote fourteen romances for Harlequin, ten romantic historical novels, and will soon complete the eighth of her Polvellan Cornish Mysteries writing as Rachel Ennis. She has been shortlisted for five major awards.

She taught the craft of novel writing for twenty years and was delighted and privileged to see eleven former students become professional novelists.  Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall all her life finding inspiration for her books in the county’s scenery, history and people.  Her hobbies are reading, coastal walks, baking, vintage vehicle rallies – and reading.

Twitter: @JJacksonAuthor


Thanks every so much Jane. Great blog!

Come back tomorrow to discover which book Alison Rose is blowing the dust off.

Happy reading,

Jenny xxx


Guest Post from Jane Jackson: The Master’s Wife

I’m delighted to welcome one of my fellow Accent authors to the blog today. Jane Jackson is a truly excellent writer, and an all round lovely person. She is here today to share some of the background to her novel, ‘The Master’s Wife.’

Over to you Jane…

When Caseley and Jago Barata’s two young sons die in an epidemic while he’s away at sea, her grief and his guilt create an unbridgeable chasm between them.

Believing he failed his wife when she needed him most, Jago cannot turn to her for comfort. Seeking escape from his guilt he takes up with his former mistress, devastating Caseley when she finds out.

Aware of Jago’s undercover work in Spain, and deeply anxious that increasing unrest in Egypt could lead to war, the British Treasury asks him to carry £20,000 in gold to Egypt to bribe the largest Bedouin tribe to fight on Britain’s side.

What had caused the unrest?   Ambitious to make Egypt more like Europe, Khedive Said then his heir and nephew Ismail had raised money for their expansive but poorly-planned schemes through crushing taxation.  When that wasn’t enough, they took out huge loans at high interest rates from British and European banks.

By 1876 Egypt faced bankruptcy.  Anxious to protect its 44% share in the Suez Canal, Britain demanded – and was granted- joint financial management of Egypt with France. Ismail was deposed in favour of his son Prince Tewfiq, and left for exile in Naples on a train loaded with gold, objets d’art, jewels and furniture.

The poorest Egyptians saw little improvement in their lot. They toiled for overseers employed by large landowners and too often had to choose between buying seed for their own small plots, or a length of cloth to replace the rags that were all they had to wear.

Wilfully blind to their own part in fuelling the upsurge of anger, the ruling elite refused to believe that the fellahin would ever rebel. But the Egyptian poor, who did not want their country ruled by Turks or by Europeans, had found a charismatic leader in Egyptian-born Col. Ahmed Arabi.  (There is a saying that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it, and I see painful similarities between these events and our current situation)

Jago’s mission to Egypt would take him away from home for at least three months. Desperate to escape a house filled with memories, Caseley pleads to go with him. He is reluctant, concerned for her safety. But she demolishes his argument by pointing out that for her the worst has already happened so what has she to fear?  Besides, the official language in Alexandria is French which she speaks and he doesn’t. if only for this he needs her.

The Master's Wife

Because I’m a plotter, I had mapped out the story’s route. But Caseley and Jago are strong people and once the journey began they took over, reacting in ways I hadn’t planned or expected. This led to unforeseen consequences. It was as much an adventure for me as it was for them. I lived the events with them. I laughed, wept and had my heart in my mouth more than once. Would Jago fulfil his mission?  Could he and Caseley find a way back to each other?



Gesturing towards an alcove screened from the cabin by the folds of a thick dark curtain, he moved to the open doorway. ‘You know your way around. I want to get underway.’

‘Yes, of course.’

They were husband and wife and as wary as strangers. He disappeared and she heard his boots clang on the chased brass treads of the companionway. Alone now she pressed a gloved hand to her dry throat as her heart thudded. Not too late…With all her heart she hoped so.

Everything was as she remembered: the table designed to fit the narrowing stern and edged with a wooden lip to prevent things sliding off. The shelf above filled with books and sea junk secured by a beautifully turned fiddle rail. The shallow brass lamp suspended beneath the open skylight.

Her gaze moved from the clock and barometer to the squat stove standing on its protective metal plate in front of the forward bulkhead and bracketed by a full coal-bucket and basket of logs.

Through the open skylight came the sounds of a ship making ready for sea: the rattle of blocks, snapping canvas, and the crew’s banter. Six years had passed since her last trip and it was exactly as she remembered.

She crossed to the sleeping alcove. Pushing back the curtain she saw the nightstand. Beneath a hinged lid was an enamel basin. A cupboard underneath held a chamber pot. Light fell across the bed and her breath caught in her throat.

Immediately after proposing to her, Jago had instructed Hammer to widen the narrow berth so it would comfortably accommodate them both.  She had made a mattress to fit and bought new blankets.  In that small private space they had discovered each other, shared their pasts and talked of their plans for the future. Their elder son had been conceived there. She had slept in Jago’s arms, safe, loved, until her advancing pregnancy had made it uncomfortable and unwise.

The berth had been reduced to its original size. Rejection stung like a slap. She lifted the blankets and saw the mattress had been made smaller. Their time together, her presence here, her part in his seafaring life, he had erased it all. She had believed herself numb to further pain. She wasn’t.


You can buy The Master’s Wife from all good retailers, including- :




I have lived in the same Cornish village nearly all my life.

My first book, a romantic thriller, was published in 1982. After four medical and ten contemporary romances for Harlequin as Dana James published worldwide I began writing longer historical romances. Of the fourteen published as Jane Jackson some remained Cornwall-based, others – set in the C18th and C19th – ventured to foreign shores while maintaining strong Cornish links. After joining the RNA in the early 1990s I reached the shortlist for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award with Eye of the Wind in 2002, and was shortlisted for the Historical Prize in 2010 with Heart of Stone, and in 2016 for The Consul’s Daughter.  Crosscurrents published in 2016 was shortlisted for the Winston Graham Historical Prize. The fourth in my ‘Polvellan Cornish Mysteries’ series, Secrets and Lies written as Rachel Ennis was published in April.

Teaching the Craft of Novel Writing for over twenty years from Ad. Ed. to MA level has been both a pleasure and a privilege. Ten of my former students are now multi-published novelists.


Many thanks Jane, wonderful blog.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Guest Post from Jane Jackson: Being Mysterious as Rachel Ennis

Today I am welcoming the lovely Jane Jackson back to my site. On this visit Jane is chatting about her latest book, The Loner, which was written by the ‘other her’- Rachel Ennis!

Over to you Jane (or should that be Rachel?)…

For the past fifteen years I have been writing historical romantic fiction. I’m fascinated by life in the past, especially my chosen period of 1795 – 1905. Momentous changes were taking place in every aspect of life: the Napoleonic wars with France, railways that spread like tentacles across the length and breadth of the country, physician Edward Jenner’s development of a smallpox vaccine saving thousands of lives, the Falmouth-based packet service transporting mail all over the world, dispatches to theatres of war, and bringing back gold bullion from the sugar plantations of Jamaica.

The Loner

Society was changing too. The industrial revolution brought a massive exodus from countryside to cities and jobs in the new factories whose prosperous owners were the basis of a new middle class.

The fun and frivolity of the Regency was crushed beneath the repression and hypocrisy of Victoria’s reign. I’d need another lifetime to write all the books I have ideas for.

Then in November 2014 I was offered the chance to contribute to an anthology of Christmas stories published by Accent Press entitled ‘Wishing on a Star.’

Wishing on a Star

This was a great opportunity to write a contemporary story. But as I was stepping outside my comfort zone I decided to set it in a location familiar to me – a Cornish coastal village. I named it Polvellan (translation from Cornish is top – or head – of the mill, because there is an old mill at the back of the quay) and the story featured the birth of a baby during a carol concert, but with a very contemporary twist.

I loved writing it. My editor enjoyed it and suggested a series. That was how ‘Polvellan Cornish Mysteries’ and my new name of Rachel Ennis came into being.

Several authors published, like me, by Accent Press write murder mysteries and they are excellent. But this wasn’t a direction I wanted to take. Then I had my lightbulb moment. I would make Jess Trevanion – my main character – an amateur genealogist. Asked to find people’s ancestors she makes unexpected, shocking, remarkable, and occasionally tragic discoveries. And I get to explore more recent history!

Born and brought up in Polvellan, Jess returned to live there after her husband’s unexpected death left her in desperate financial straits. Because she is known and trusted, people confide in her.

Each of Jess’s friends: Annie, Gill, Morwenna and Viv, has their own story gradually revealed throughout the series, as are Jess’s past and current problems. She and childhood sweetheart, Tom Peters, are rebuilding their romance but both carry baggage from the past.

I never take people from real life as characters. Yet the villagers in Polvellan are as real to me as my family. In some ways I know them better, because in each story they reveal more about their secrets, fears and hopes.

As Jess’s reputation spreads she is asked to undertake more investigations. But some people aren’t happy, afraid of what might come out.

‘The Loner’ is the third in the series. Calling at the cottage of recluse John Preece to give him some tomato plants, Jess finds him dead on the floor.

Police and Coroner deem it an accident: he tripped on the rug and hit his head on the granite hearth.

When talk turns to the funeral arrangements Jess’s sadness becomes resolve when she realises that, like herself, very few people knew the real John Preece. Though he lived in the village for many years, his background is a mystery. Using her investigative skills to research John’s family, she is surprised and horrified by what she finds out.

Meanwhile, she is also investigating the history of Marigold’s, a famous local venue recently inherited by the new heir to the Chenhall estate. Who was Marigold and what was her claim to fame?


You can buy ‘The Loner’ 3rd of the Polvellan Cornish Mysteries as an Ebook Pub. for 99p from- and all good eBook retailers.


Jane Jackson TTH pic

You can find more about the work of Jane Jackson (aka Rachel Ennis) at-





Many thanks for a great blog Jane.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x 

Meet My Main Character with Jane Jackson: Crosscurrents

Today I’m delighted to have my friend, and fellow Accent author, Jane Jackson, visiting. Why not grab a cuppa and settle down to learn all about the main character in Jane’s latest book, Crosscurrents- and then read a tasty extract…


Meet My Main Character.

Santo Innis is a Cornish engineer who served his apprenticeship at the world-renowned Perran Foundry and was later seconded to two respected companies in London building marine steam engines.

Crosscurrents is set in Cornwall in 1830. The first trials of the Cornish multi-tube boiler using high-pressure steam actually took place here in Falmouth. But while some in the Admiralty were keen to move from sail to steam in the interests of shorter voyage times and increased productivity, many were dead set against it.  Contradictory demands for speed and economy were impossible to meet and created intolerable pressures for engineers whose companies were bidding for Admiralty contracts.


What should we know about him?

After his parents were killed when he was a child, Santo was brought up in his Uncle George’s house. George Curnock is the head brewer and joint owner of Curnock’s Brewery run by his brother Arthur. George’s only child, his son, Treeve is a maltster. Two years older than Santo Treeve has always bitterly resented him. Santo’s engineering skill has impressed shrewd businessman Richard Vaughan, heir to country estate owner, Frederick Tregarron.  Despite the difference in their class and background, their shared interest hot air technology has drawn Richard and Santo into friendship.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

A ship taking part in boiler trials explodes killing all on board, among them the chief engineer who was Santo’s friend and mentor.  Santo’s row with Tregarron costs him his job.  With his newly-developed marine engine fitted into a bare hull supplied by Richard, Santo – in debt and in love – agrees to take part in a risky venture that will solve all his financial problems. Instead he loses everything.

What is the personal goal of the character?

Appalled by the number of deaths caused by high-pressure steam boilers exploding, Santo has developed a revolutionary new engine driven by heated air.  In love with Bronnen Jewell he feels he cannot propose to her until he has proved himself and cleared his debts.

Where can we read more about it?

The book is called ‘Crosscurrents’.  You’ll find more about it at

When will it be published?

Published by Accent Press, the ebook is available at:

The paperback edition at:


Here is an excerpt:


‘Mr Innis.’ Now her pulse raced for a very different reason. ‘What are you doing here?’ The instant the words were out she wished she could call them back. ‘I – I didn’t mean – it’s – I wasn’t expecting –’ aware she was babbling she caught her bottom lip between her teeth and bit hard.

‘Not interrupting you, am I?’

‘No.’ She swallowed. ‘No.’

Stepping inside he half-turned so the dwindling light fell on her face. ‘I – er – you got on all right with the engine?’

She nodded. ‘Yes. I didn’t have a minute’s bother. Well, I did, but it was my fault,’ she added quickly as concern drew his brows together. ‘I was busy and the fire nearly went out. But soon as I got ’n going again the engine worked and so did the pump.’ She saw him look round.

‘Mother not with you?’

‘She’s ill. I wouldn’t let her come. It don’t take both of us to do the skimming.’

‘That why you were so busy? You were here by yourself?’

After a brief hesitation she nodded. ‘Please don’t tell –’

‘None of my business.’ He gestured towards the dense frothy head on the fermenting beer. ‘You did all this on your own? I call that a proper job.’

Her heart lifted at the compliment. She tucked it away, a small treasure to be examined later when she was alone, and shrugged shyly. ‘If you could have seen me this morning, running back and forth –’

‘I wish –’ he began softly then stopped, clearing his throat. ‘I’ve just been up with Mr Vaughan. He’s going to write to Mr Rowse at the quarry. Invite him to come and see the engine working.’ Holding his hat in front of him he was turning it round and round by the brim. ‘I thought I’d stop by and let you know, seeing it was your idea. Truth is,’ she heard his throat click as he swallowed. ‘I wanted to see you again.’

‘Oh.’ Suddenly self-conscious about her appearance after the long demanding day, she tucked a stray curl behind her ear.

‘You don’t mind?’

She felt a trembling inside. ‘No.’

‘Is it all right if I stay a while?’

She was glad the gathering dusk hid her fiery blush. Uncertain, wanting, fearful, she blurted, ‘Why?’

‘I want – I’d like – to know you better.’ He waited. ‘If you don’t mind.’ She could feel his gaze. ‘Would you rather I went?’

Feeling as if she was standing on a cliff edge unable to see how deep the drop was, she took a deep breath and jumped. ‘No.’

In the gloom his teeth flashed in a quick grin that softened the harsh planes of his face. ‘I’m some glad of that.’

This morning, seeing him focused and sombre she had guessed him to be in his thirties. But that smile told her she had over-estimated. Yet she sensed he didn’t smile often.

She smoothed the front of dress. ‘It’s just –’

‘The minute you want me to go, you just say. All right?’

She nodded. Placing the journal under the chair she sat down and folded her hands in her lap. He dropped his hat on the bench and sat beside it, half-facing her, his hands loosely clasped between his parted knees.

Bronnen moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. ‘You said you haven’t long been back in Cornwall?’

‘That’s right. I was four years in South Wales at an engineering company Mr Tregarron put money in. From there I went to Hall’s Engineering Works in Dartford for three years. They built the engine in the steam packet Mercury. She’s being used to test a new boiler. Next week I’ll be aboard her for a few days.’

‘Did you always want to be an engineer?’

‘Yes. But my uncle wanted me to be a brewer.’

‘Your uncle?’

‘George Curnock.’

‘No, I meant, what about your father? Surely he –?’

‘My parents died when I was small.’

‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’

His voice hardened. ‘Father drank. It made him – when Mother tried to save me we both paid.’ He had tipped his head so she couldn’t see his face.

Bronnen touched his forearm in silent sympathy. Then, afraid she had gone too far on such short acquaintance she started to withdraw her hand. But before she could, he covered it with his own. His callused palm was warm. He didn’t look at her.

‘My uncle and aunt took me in. But that didn’t sit well with my cousin Treeve. He couldn’t abide having this cuckoo in their nest.’

Bronnen gasped.

Santo’s head came up. ‘What?’

‘That’s what my father called me.’

‘He never did!’ The shock in his voice was oddly comforting. ‘Why?’

‘I don’t know. Most of the girls I grew up with are married. P’rhaps he thinks it’s time I was. But even if there was someone, I can’t leave my mother.’

His hand tightened on hers. ‘Why’s that then?’

‘What you said about your father drinking? Mine does too.’ Tonight he had kicked her like a stray dog.

‘That’s how your mother couldn’t come today?’

What was she thinking? He was a stranger. Bronnen stood up quickly. ‘I shouldn’t have said anything.’

On his feet in an instant, a head taller, broad-shouldered and so close that she started to quiver, he caught her hand.

‘Listen, what I just told you I’ve never told a living soul. What you’ve told me stays between us. Don’t ask me to go yet.’ His voice was low and hoarse as the words tumbled out. ‘I know I said I would. And I will, if that’s what you want. Is it?’

‘No’, she whispered.

Lifting her hand he pressed her palm against his chest. She felt the strong steady beat of his heart. Hers was fluttering like a trapped bird.



Many thanks Jane!

If you’d like to discover more about Jane and her work, then check out her website-

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx



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